"It's 'only' practice...and belief."
As a dad, I want my children (four daughters) to love Jesus more than anything else.
I want this for them not just because I care about their eternal destiny (I admit that I really don’t think about eternal destinies as much as I should). I want them to be happy and whole—now and into eternity. I believe that the Christian life, for all its challenges and trials, is the happiest life they could have.
I also have a bit of a selfish motive in my desire for the spiritual vitality of my children. As they grow up, I want to visit them and to enjoy their company, knowing that they hold dear the same things that I do. I want to go to church with them when I visit and pray with them before Christmas dinner. I want to see them cling to the same hope that I have when things are falling apart around them. I want this because I want them to be happy and to live fully.
In my last post, I mentioned that I run a Christian school, and have now for almost a quarter century, but that I grew up disliking Christian education because most of it seemed like escapist, culturally disengaged, navel-gazing. I want none of that.
(You can read that previous post on cultural influencers here (LINK), or to better understand this whole series of posts on the Good Soil Report, read the first post here.)
Some people are also turned off by Christian education because, often, it ends up giving kids more of a veneer of Christianity rather than a stable, heartfelt, abiding faith—a faith that leads to the real happiness that I want for my kids.
That is another reason why the Good Soil Report gives me even more cause to love Classical Christian Education. In it, I see that not only are Classical graduates culturally engaged justice-seekers who pour out their life as impactful volunteers (as indicated in our previous post about Influencers), but they are also deeply committed to Christian belief and Christian practice.
How can we tell this? First, let’s look at the Good Soil Report index on Christian Commitment:
This graph tells quite a story about the devotional lives of Classical Christian school graduates. Though they are very engaged in culture and community (as our Influencer post pointed out), they are exceptionally committed to a living faith and consistent devotional practice including small group study, Bible reading, regular church attendance, and volunteering at church. They were a whopping 40% above the median. That means that the vast majority of ACCS graduates have these healthy devotional practices built into their lives. This is about 20% farther above the median than both homeschooling and regular Christian schooling and drastically higher than Catholic schools (-4), Private Prep (-7), and Public School (-8).
(For more information on how these charts are presented and the Good Soil Report data calculation, click here for a guide on reading and understanding this data.)
But one might ask, is this real Christianity - an authentic, daily, personal walk with Christ - or is it just a veneer, a thin coating that doesn’t translate into deeper life commitments? That brings us to the Christian Life index:
As a father, this is the index that is even more interesting to me. This data helps us see what Christian flourishing really looks like and shows that the graduates of Classical Christian schools are living out their faith in a way that helps them thrive. This is looking at the family practices of 24- to 42-year-old ACCS graduates. They talk regularly with their families about God. They read the Bible together. They eat meals together and they tend to have stable marriages. This is the sort of faith that actually yields happiness. As a father, that is what I want for my daughters.
Finally, let me pull out one of the encouraging questions asked in this index: Do you volunteer to help the poor and needy?
Again, the Classical Christian graduates lead significantly: they are a little more than third more likely to do this than the second-place Catholic school graduates and significantly more likely than Evangelical school graduates or homeschoolers. How encouraging! Their beliefs are consistent with the lives that they are leading.
Surely, all of us want our children to happy. If we are Christians, we believe that the deepest happiness that anyone can have is being at peace with God. This peace should lead us to joyfully bring peace and service to others.
Thankfully, that is the message that these two indices tell. Classical Christian graduates tend, much more than any other group, to maintain their Christian commitments and practice those Christian commitments in a way that leads to human thriving.
Are you looking for a school that will not only provide your child with knowledge that sticks with them for life, but also solidifies their faith foundation in a way that helps their beliefs stick with them for life, we invite you to come get to know us at Veritas Academy. We would love to show you real ways that students are learning and growing with our rigorous yet deeply joyful academics and Biblically centered culture and curriculum.
Visit us for a private summer tour or join us for our Virtual Open House on July 9. Click for more details! We look forward to meeting you.